By Craig Scott

16th Jul, 2021 | 8:52am

Phil Hay fascinated by Leeds United and Nahitan Nandez speculation

Phil Hay claims speculation linking Cagliari midfielder Nahitan Nandez with a move to Leeds United has shades of Rodrigo De Paul.

As all Leeds fans will know, De Paul was strongly linked with a move to Elland Road last summer and speculation surrounding a possible move to West Yorkshire was only recently ended when he left Udinese for Atletico Madrid.

Nandez, 25, has also been heavily linked this summer with reports regularly emerging from Italy saying the Uruguay international is wanted by Marcelo Bielsa.

La Nuova Sardegna, for example, reported in June that Nandez was “very close” to signing for Leeds with the Whites prepared to pay his entire £30.9million release clause in two separate payments.

However, The Athletic’s Hay has been told that Nandez is simply too expensive despite him being a top central midfielder.

“The Nandez one is fascinating because it’s got shades of De Paul,” he said on The Phil Hay Show podcast on The Athletic website.

Hay added: “Following this earlier in the summer, the message seemed to be that he wasn’t on Orta’s shortlist and around the time of the [Junior] Firpo deal, a week or so ago, the message was still that Nandez was too expensive, it wasn’t going to happen.

“But there is an awful lot of noise around it and I mean he is an extremely high calibre midfielder.

“He’s also very versatile. Nandez can play in a variety of different midfield positions. He’s defensively very, very strong but he’s capable of playing further up the pitch as well.

“It’s a case of whether the money adds up and as I say, the message always says it doesn’t.”

He’s not coming

The Italian media has had an obsession with linking Leeds and Nandez.

Last summer it was De Paul – although that was a bit more understandable due to his Twitter antics – and Erik Pulgar, who Hay spoke about in the podcast.

When it comes to Leeds signing players, there are some sources you can trust and some that you can’t and it seems as though the Italian media has lost a lot of trust from United fans.

Nandez isn’t coming – let’s face it.

It’s been reported time after time in Italy but we cannot think of one reputable news outlet in England that has said the same.

With Hay back in action with The Athletic, we know that we have the most reliable information possible and if he’s told that a deal for Nandez isn’t going to happen, that’s what we’re going to trust.

He would be a good signing, mind.

Leeds do need a new central midfielder this summer and Nandez’s ability to play in the middle or more defensively to more attacking, plus his ability to play out wide, makes him perfect for Marcelo Bielsa.

Sadly, it’s not to be.

In other Leeds United news, Orta held a meeting in a restaurant with a player he wants to sign for Bielsa’s senior squad.